Inclusive Practice in the Arts at MK Gallery receives national recognition

The Inclusive Practice in the Arts (IPA) team at MK Gallery is delighted to be shortlisted for a Fantastic for Families 2021-2022 award, for the second year running.

Last year the team won the award for Best Family Arts Activity for its Sensory Boxes programme, which was developed in response to lockdowns as a remote creative offer for families. This year it has been shortlisted in the same category for its Toddle and Child Sensory Tour programme.

The Sensory Tours are designed for very young children, and those with additional and complex support needs, who may otherwise have difficulty accessing the content of the exhibitions. For the Tours the exhibitions are brought to life through music, story-telling, curious object handling, intriguing smells and fancy dress. The galleries are transformed into playful spaces for the children to enjoy.

Running throughout the year, the Tours have bespoke content designed in response to the Gallery’s changing exhibitions programme. They are designed and led by Associate Artist Julia Collar (of Collar and Cuffs), who has been nominated independently in the awards for her Toddington Village Sensory trails, in the category of Audience Impact and Innovation. 

Sophie Bennett, Producer, Public Programmes (Inclusion) MK Gallery, said: ‘Its great to be shortlisted for a different area of the programme, showing the diverse reach and creative output of IPA.

Special thanks go to our brilliant Learning Scouts, Sarah Hunt and Constance McCaffrey, who support families throughout the tours and enhance their experiences.

‘Our next Sensory Tours are taking place as part of our Family Fun Day on Saturday 29 October 2022, and we’ll be taking inspiration from our new exhibition Larry Achiampong: Wayfinder.

Now in its ninth year, the Fantastic for Families Awards is an annual programme open to UK based cultural organisations or cultural activity organisers, providing creative opportunities, activities, or initiatives for families, young mothers, isolated elders, and those struggling with mental health conditions, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised.

Anna Dever, Head of Family Arts Campaign said: The Fantastic for Families Awards are a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary creativity and innovation of the arts sector and the amazing work delivered for families during the past year. The organisations and artists nominated, and all those who applied, are wonderful examples of how creative and cultural engagement can bring joy and opportunities to families across the UK.’

The awards ceremony will take place online on the 16 November 2022